EE has announced that 5G will be live from 30 May 2019, bringing a new wave of connectivity to six cities in the UK - the first wave in a progressive roll-out over the next couple of years.
The new 5G network will bring with it a wide range of benefits, such as lower latency, greater capacity and faster upload and download speeds. It will be an enabler for a whole range of technologies, in many cases allowing the advancement of technologies and services that we haven't yet thought of.
How fast is EE 5G?
In the first instance, however, most people will be asking how fast it is, as the immediate benefit to customers will be faster data rates.
While there are theoretical maximum data rates possible on the hardware, as users of 4G will know, a lot of the time you don't get the theoretical maximum because of all the environmental factors. You might be on a 90Mbps service and only get 30Mbps, or you might find yourself on 3G, or Edge. That's the nature of the beast.
EE has said that the typical average for 5G will be between 100-300Mbps, which is faster than the 4G services it currently offers. We got the chance to run a couple of speedtests on the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G at the launch of EE 5G and got speeds up to 460Mbps. In the same location, running the same test on our 4G device returned 40Mbps, so that's 10x faster.
Of course there's a lot to take into consideration and what we average in one set of speedtests doesn't necessarily mean you're always going to see the same thing.
Additionally, this is day one for the network and things will be expanding progressively over the next couple of years, meaning that the 5G network is going to evolve a lot - even in those cities it initially launches in like London.
What does this speed mean in real terms?
Fast data rates alone don't really mean anything - it's what you do with them. In the first instance, the immediate benefit will be in things like speed of downloads. Downloading a Spotify playlist before jumping on the Tube will happen in a flash - as indeed would downloading movies.
To demonstrate this at the launch of 5G EE, we had the chance to fire up YouTube. Videos play instantly and if you scrub forward, there's no buffering or thinking, it just keeps playing pretty much instantly from the point you choose.
That's a much better experience than 4G when you usually have to accept a little lag while the data arrives and buffers and gets playing again. Ultimately, it should mean you can reliably and smoothly stream in top quality while on the move.
Let's face it - in many instances the data rates that we're looking at here are faster than most people have via their home broadband. The biggest problem is likely to be how much data that then leads you to use.
EE's 5G service will launch commercially from 30 May 2019. You can already pre-order devices from EE on their website.